Shining started a 12 concert Norwegian tour yesterday, with two nights at a club in Oslo playing Blackjazz the first night and One One One the next. After the tour is over, they will play seven UK dates with Kreator Official, Arch Enemy and Marty Fiedman. In March they will play a European tour, 23 dates, with Devin Townsend and Periphery. No one can say these guys are lazy! I saw the Blackjazz concert yesterday.
Blackjazz was Shining’s first CD in their newest incarnation, as a cross between black metal and jazz. The band was started by Jørgen Munkeby and Morten Quenild in 1999, and they have released four albums before Blackjazz, which was released in 2010. Quenild left in 2005, and the following album, Grindstone showed the darker and heavier direction the band would follow.
Today Shining consists of Jørgen Munkeby on guitar and saxophone, Tor Egil Kreken, Håkon Sagen on guitar, Eirik Tovsrud Knutsen on keyboard and Tobias Ornes Andersen and/or Torstein Lofthus on drums. Last night was an extraordinaire concert with both Tobias and Torstain on stage at the same time.
The music on the album Blackjazz is complex, virtuous, hard and intricate at the same time. The instrumentation on the CD is the same as on their live shows, with guitar, keyboard, bass and drums, plus Munkeby on guitar and saxophone. Munkeby’s vocals is the element that most closely resembles black metal, high pitched growling. Many of the songs have a high tempo, with intricate figures on guitar and keyboard, and often with asymmetric meter.
The concert started with the first track on the album, The Madness And The Damage Done, and I heard through to the last, 21st Century Schizoid Man. Munkeby said at the start that they have never played the whole album through, but no worry, they made it through without a glitch. Even if I play some instruments myself (or maybe because of t), I sometimes can’t understand how they manage to play some of their songs. All the musicians in the band are extremely well skilled and play the songs seemingly effortlessly.
My favorite songs from the album are the two I mentioned, their own The Madness and The Damage Done and 21st Century Schizoid Man. The latter is a cover of the King Crimson song, first released on the In The Court Of The Crimson King album from 1969. The song was the opening track on the album, and became in a way the symbol for the prog rock that was to come.
The club, Blaa, was filled to capacity, with some fans coming from Poland, UK, USA, Denmark and probably some other places too. Tonight the band will play another concert there, this time they will play their newest album, One One One, through.
Check out Shinings website for their upcoming tours. If and when they play where you live, go and see them. Their show is something you have to experience, and in the meanwhile you can listen to their albums.
All pictures are © Per Ole Hagen and must not be used without written permission.